Transparency and Accountability
Examinations of transparency and accountability mechanisms relevant to the relationship between corporations and state agencies regarding personal data and other surveillance activities.
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By now, issues of digital surveillance, government interference online, and programmatic targeting by businesses are common parlour talk. From Snowden to the recent and ongoing cases of government spying in Mexico, these acts have become a reality of the digital age. But what ethical, legal, and political questions and consequences lie at the intersection of digital governance and big data?
As more companies increasingly produce transparency reports, a pertinent question presents itself: how effective are they in altering bahaviour of both corporations and governments? In a recent paper for Business and Society, Citizen Lab’s Chris Parsons examines this in detail.
In this post, we critically examine the Government of Canada’s proposal to indiscriminately access subscriber identity information that is possessed by telecommunications service providers. We conclude by arguing that the government has failed to justify its case for such access to the information.
This report investigates the surveillance capabilities of IMSI Catchers, efforts by states to prevent information relating to IMSI Catchers from entering the public record, and the legal and policy frameworks that govern the use of these devices. The report principally focuses on Canadian agencies but, to do so, draws comparative examples from other jurisdictions. The report concludes with a series of recommended transparency and control mechanisms that are designed to properly contain the use of the devices and temper their more intrusive features.
The DIY Transparency Report tool helps smaller organizations produce holistic transparency reports. Such reports comprehensively explain to customers, citizens, and government agencies alike how an organization can, and does, receive and respond to government requests. It does so by guiding organizational members through the process of developing a holistic report, while empowering them to customize their reports to reflect their organizational profile.